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  • Writer's pictureKen Murray

A Tribute to my Mom - Ruth F. Collins

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

My Mom, Ruth F. Collins, was born May 16, 1921 in Schenectady, NY. She was one of 10 children born to Arthur Collins and Henrietta ("Hattie") Stone.

Here's a photo of Arthur and Hattie Collins holding one of their daughters, possibly Mom.

Here's a photo of Mom's Collins family. Mom's brothers included Chuckie, Al, and Eddie. The sisters included Ginny, Eleanor, Theresa, and Ann. My Mom is in the back row of this photo, third from the left. Two children, Marion and Herbert, died at years two and 12 respectively. I'm guessing this photo was taken just after the war as my Uncle Chuckie is in his Navy uniform. Also Grampa is not in the photo as he died in 1946.

The Collins family were devout Catholics, and I remember my Mom going to mass several days a week plus Sunday. My sister Pat told me there was always a lot of talking, laughter and closeness in the family.

This picture was labeled High School Athletic Council, and I think my Mom is on the far right. She was an excellent archer and took home a number of ribbons and medals. She met my Dad, Edward J. Murray in high school, and she graduated in 1939. Mom told me she was accepted at Brown University but could not attend because of cost.

This may be my Mom's high school graduation picture as it is labeled 1939. I know it wasn't common to smile in photos back then, but she seems so melancholy in this photo.

Here's a photo of Mom and Dad (Edward J. Murray) before they were married at my Uncle Al's wedding. They were a good-looking couple.

Here's another photo of Mom at Uncle Al's wedding.

World War II interrupted everyone's plans. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States declared war. Dad enlisted in the US Marine Corp. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and went to flight school, which I believe was in Pensacola, Florida. Dad and Mom married on May 8, 1943 and they moved to Florida. Here is their wedding photo.

I am not sure what Mom did during the war, but I know she worked to support the war effort. My brother Jack was born during WWII. Here's a photo of Mom and Jack, taken maybe in 1945. They lived in Schenectady until sometime in the 1950's when the family moved to Syracuse.

Here's a photo of Mom with Jack (left) and Dad on the right, probably taken in 1946 or 1947.

My sister Pat and brother Al were born after the war, and my brother Glenn was born in the 1950's. My Mom was devoted to her family. She always made sure we had clean clothes, plenty of healthy food, and a clean house to live in. She also worked outside the home, and in the 1960's, volunteered at the hospital in Elmira. I have wonderful memories of her bringing milk shakes or sundaes home to me from the hospital ice cream shop.

Here's a photo of Mom in 1955.

I came along in 1960 as the surprise baby. Here's a photo of my Mom and me, with my Dad and brother Glenn in the background. Mom played games, like Old Maid, with me, took care of me when I was sick (she gave me a bell to ring if I needed her), and made me special treats (like chocolate pudding or cutting up an apple and putting cinnamon on it). And she let me listen to my music REALLY LOUD and never asked me to turn it down.

Here's a couple of photos of Mom in the 1960's when we lived in Elmira, NY.

Here's Mom carving a turkey for dinner.

Here's some photos of Mom in the 1980's and 90's when she lived in Mechanicsville, VA.

Mom passed away in October 2004, about a year after Dad passed. She was a loving Mom and Grandmother. She loved my step-daughter Melissa as her grand daughter and made her special treats. She loved my wife Shelly very much and opened up to her like she did with few people. I loved her and wish she was still around to love her great grandchildren Rhys and Knox.

Here's one of my favorite pictures of Mom. She was so proud of her flowers, and she seems so happy.

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